Thursday, December 6, 2012


"While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” - Matthew 4:18-19

I used to do a lot of fishing in my younger years. Fly fishing . . . for trout. It was a good way to spend some time outdoors, by myself, to unwind. I used to tie my own flies. There was something very satisfying about catching fish using a lure I had made. The trout I chose to keep I cleaned right there on the river bank but most of the fish I caught were released.

One evening, while fishing the Crystal River just south of Parfreyville, I noticed what appeared to be a rather large trout feeding under some overhanging tree branches - a tricky cast, but I had to try.

I made several false casts trying to "make sure" before I let the fly drop. Perfect! But the fish didn't bite. So I tried again . . . . and again . . . and again. Nothing. The fish was still there. It was still feeding, but it obviously wasn't eating anything I had to offer. I changed flies several times but I never found anything of interest to my wise old friend.

This past weekend I was scrolling through the seemingly endless list of Facebook status updates. Post after post after post. I began to feel like I was back in the Crystal River again - a flood of status updates "streaming" towards me. And actually? I WAS fishing. Not for trout, but for friends in need.

Before I go much further, and before you begin thinking of me as a major creeper, I should let you know that I am a youth leader in my church. The fish in my Facebook "stream" are students. Students I love dearly.

It wasn't long before my eyes came across exactly what I was looking for. A message.

I know. There are lots of "messages" on Facebook. I'm not looking for those generic Facebook messages. You know, the kind with words in them. No. I look for messages without words. I look for messages "between the lines."

This week I took a chance and reached out to someone who was having a bad day. It was like that cast those many years ago. Waiting. Watching . . . but this time however, unlike my failed attempts at that big trout, this time a chat window popped open and I found myself engaged in a conversation.

In the Bible, Jesus commands us to "go and make disciples." He doesn't tell us HOW to do it, it just tells us TO "do it." It's like fishing. We have to get into the stream and get wet. We're not going to catch many fish by standing on the shore, never wetting a line.

I left my old life behind seven years ago and followed Jesus, all because someone chose to cast a line, baited with The Gospel, in my direction.  The streams are full of fish, my friends. And they have been waiting for something good to eat their entire lives. We have the food they are seeking. We have the food they need.

We have been given a command by God to basically hang out the "gone fishing" sign. A command!When we stand in front of Jesus one day, how will we justify not doing what He has told us to do?

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